Just a few of the artists featuring on The SPinoff's Songs of the Month for August.

The Spinoff Music’s songs of the month: July 2019

Featuring a New Zealand supergroup, a Spanish superstar, Canadian’s finest super-lesbians (just go with it) and more.

International

‘Milionària’ by ROSALÍA

Not gonna lie, I’ve had this on repeat all month. ROSALIA continues her reign of triumphant, major-key yet low-key, hits with ‘Millionara’. The song is a tribute to extreme wealth, in the same way that Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette is a tribute to that doomed queen – ROSALIA’s tongue is firmly in her cheek here, with that hook ‘Fucking money man’ stopping the song dead in the best way. But beyond the commentary (the chorus literally translates to “I just want to see one-hundred dollar bills/Dollar signs on the mind”), it’s a lean fizzer of a song, at not even two minutes twenty. / Sam Brooks

‘I’ll Be Back Someday’ by Tegan and Sara

Tegan and Sara are the Simon and Garfunkel of emotional millennials and people who didn’t know they were not just gay, but the gayest. Every release these sisters make is worthy of note, including their upcoming Hey, I’m Just Like You, where the duo revisit demos that they recorded in their teens and rerecord them with all the bells, whistles and around 20 bloody guitars. ‘I’ll Be Back Someday’ is the lead single, and while it sounds closer to Killing Heidi than modern Tegan & Sara, it’s got a hell of a forward momentum to it, and the chorus is goddamned killer. Give us the album, please. / SB

‘Gone’ by Charli XCX and & Christine and The Queens

For much of her career Charli XCX seemed to be uncomfortable with being a capital P pop artist. She would cloak big melodies in overly thin productions, or blink when a big chorus seemed looming. Even when that changed, with the brash Troye Sivan collaboration ‘1999’, there was something a little arch in its self-consciously throwback sound and lyric. Which is why ‘Gone’ feels like such a breakthrough. It’s a stark, desolate love song strapped to a monstrous bassline, shot full of longing but completely unafraid of the moment, with a chorus that releases all the tension built up prior. She hasn’t abandoned all the artfulness she came in with – the vocal is harsh and distorted, and it feels too dark for radio. And its relatively restrained commercial performance (sub 5m plays on Spotify in over a week) suggests it’s not going to be a hit on the scale it deserves. But this is easily the most complete distillation of her promise yet, with an outstanding and wrenching guest spot from Christine & the Queens. It’s taken too long to get here, but this feels like where she was meant to be all along. / Duncan Greive

‘Sofia’ by Clairo

Clairo is on some kind of a tear right now. The third single from her debut album Immunity (due at the end of this week), ‘Sofia’ is maybe the strongest of an already incredibly assured crop. In contrast to the late-relationship ennui and frustration of ‘Bags’ and ‘Closer to You’ respectively, it’s a relatively breezy paean to Sofias both literal (Coppola, Vergara) and metaphorical – in her own words, her “first ever crushes on women [she] saw in the media.” With a driving, melodic backing that draws equally from late-era Cardigans (yes, the ‘Lovefool’ Cardigans) and Mitski’s recent efforts, it’s an ideal teaser for an album that now seems all but certain to comfortably eclipse her early work. / Matthew McAuley

‘Locomotive’ by Miranda Lambert

Oh hell yes. Whereas Lambert’s last album Weight of These Wings was a mournful, downcast album, this song sees Lambert in the place she operates brightest and best: A little bit trashy, a little bit rock, and with as much space as she needs to throw up every country music trope and put a twist on it. Take the chorus:

I’m sweet tea sippin’ on a front porch, sittin’
While my hubby fries chicken and I’m picking these strings
Been down on my luck, but I ain’t givin up
Well, I totaled his truck, but he loves me just the same
Mmm, he gives me wings, oh, he gives me wings

You almost hear her wiping the sweat off her face while downing the rest of her Jack-and-coke. Combine that with Jay Joyce’s production, the fiddle and guitars high in the mix, and you’ve got a genuine bloody barnstormer. Welcome back, Miranda. Stick around for the rest of the six pack. / SB

‘Baby Are You Coming’ by Zero12finest ft Thamagnificent2

AmaHouse seems to have displaced gqom as South Africa’s pop-house ‘nuum, and ‘Baby Are You Coming’ showcases all the best qualities of club music bubbling up to the charts: minimal vocal hooks anchoring a psychedelic swirl where the tiniest changes in tone have devastating dancefloor impacts. Slivers of horns and synth pads giving surprising emotional range where the most commonly repeated refrains aside from the song’s title are “I’ll take your girl and make her mine” / “I’ll take your man and make him mine”; a moveable feast of microhooks. / Stevie Kaye

New Zealand

‘Too Much of a Good Thing’ by Leisure

New Zealand five-piece Leisure have finally dropped the album they’ve been teasing us with since last year, and it’s superb. Every new single is jam-hot funk-pop, but the album’s stand-out song is ‘Too Much of a Good Thing’. An absolute bop, it’s the epitome of Leisure’s chill-yet-sexy sound. This is the kind of song you make mimosas to. It’s the sound of the sun going down at a pool party. It’s got a lusty bass line, smooth-as-silk vocal hooks, and all the mod-cons of pop, too. Listen to this if you’re feeling sensual. / Josie Adams

‘Kudis’ by Skux

The wonderfully-named Skux has released a new pop-punk banger, ‘Kudis,’ and a grimy 80s-themed video to go with it. The video takes us through classic punk moves including crowd’n’weaves, skaters, and skanking. ‘Kudis’ is pronounced ‘cooties,’ and the song sounds like you could catch them from listening to it. Skux is doing a great job of bringing noise and punk back from the emo wasteland we abandoned them in a decade ago. This song is straight party punk. Thrash it. / Josie Adams

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‘Huia Te Aroha’ by He Waka Kōtuia

This gem is from an album called Te Mahi Tamariki, made by a group of kids from Dunedin, recorded on their marae with some help from Mara TK and Troy Kingi. It’s sunny, with smooth group vocals and a timeless tune, and the fact that I don’t speak te reo but I still have it stuck in my head a week later says a lot. Honestly, track down the video and try not to smile – these kids are so cool and on to it and the tune is so good that you’ll be bobbing your head AND feeling hopeful that the future is in very good hands. / Toby Morris

‘Die Like A Rose’ by Alexa Casino ft imugi 이무기

Two years on from her fantastic CHEER UP TRY HARD TEAR UP CRY HARD EP, Wellington’s Alexa Casino returns with an icy slice of mirrorshades R&B reminiscent of Coco Solid’s ‘Architecture’. The collaboration lets Auckland’s imugi 이무기 transmute their kindred buzzy vibes into more emo territory than their usual fare; Blade Runner in the botanarium. / SK

‘Posture’ by Soccerpractise

Soccerpractise commit their live anthem ‘Posture’ to a fixed form as the first salvo from their sophomore album; the martial clatter and “head over heart, heart over pelvis” refrain were a given, but the ghostly knucklebone percussive curliques and pizzicato synth vapour trails give the banger complicating sonic depth. / Stevie Kaye
You can listen to all of these songs (and our other songs of the month playlists) below:


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